A Montreal-based research institute has found, after an intensive study, that Montreal’s public transit should be completely free to users.
In a report released yesterday, Institut de recherche et d'informations socio-économiques (IRIS) said that making bus and metro rides on the STM would actually save the city money.
Making public transit free in Montreal would cost about $620 million. That’s far less than subsidies already given to folks driving cars, reports CTV.
But it’s not just money at play, here. Free public transit would improve the quality of life in Montreal, say experts from IRIS.
Traffic congestion would improve, stress levels would go down, and pollution would decrease if more people took public transit rather than driving. Which they probably would, if public transit was completely free.
Of course, $620 million is a big number, but Montreal could cover the costs of free public transit through government subsidies.
Programs exist for lowering pollution and CO2 emissions, and Montreal would reap the monetary benefits of these subsidies through a free public transit initiative, which would lower greenhouse gas pollution in the city.
Montreal has already promised it would reduce pollution in the city by a rate of 80% by 2050.
The report also says the provincial government should boost public transit funding. Hydro-Quebec should also play a role by lowering electricity rates for the STM metro network.
Not that Montreal needs to go full-free right away. The process can be incremental. Making public transit free for students and the elderly would only cost $107 million, for example.
That’s something Projet Montreal has promised, the party saying it’s all for free metro and bus rides for students and the elderly.
Coderre is taking a more conservative approach, reports CTV, saying he’s in favour of the idea, but knows funding the initiative will be an uphill battle.